Charming, typically French
Byron Kolln | the corner where Broadway meets Hollywood | 12/21/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The quintessential French musical, IRMA LA DOUCE is a charming fable of love and romance set against the colorful backdrop of Paris' red-light district.IRMA LA DOUCE, with music by Marguerite Monnot and book/lyrics by Alexandre Breffort opened at the Plymouth Theatre on September 29, 1960 and ran for 524 performances. It ran twice as long in London and for over 1,000 performances in it's native France.Starring the incomparable Elizabeth Seal as Irma along with Keith Mitchell and Clive Revill, the show moves along at a cracking pace and is helped no end by a bouncy, tissue-paper-tinkling score that is given a grand treatment. Ms Seal, reprising the role she created in the London production a year earlier, won the Tony for her performance in stiff competition from Julie Andrews whose performance in CAMELOT was tipped to win.Among the highlights are the rousing "Dis Donc-Dis Donc", "Our Language of Love", "The Bridge of Caulaincourt" and "Irma-la-douce"."
Fabulous musical slice of gay Paree's netherside.
A. Andersen | Bellows Falls, VT USA | 07/17/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A law student falls for a prostitute and because she has to make a living and he wants her for his own, he becomes her pimp and only allows her to see one man (himself disguised). Exhausted by this chain of life he "kills" his alter ego and is sent to prison for the murder. All turns right in the end but along the way we are treated to a delightful French farce musical and this original cast recording captures all the melody, delight, insouciance and gaiety of the original production (translated from the French hit into a production for London's West End and then finally Broadway). Elizabeth Seal won a Tony Award for her performance and Keith Michell as the romantic lead and Clive Revill as the comic centerpiece sing and act admirably. Sheer delight from beginning to end and SOOOOOOO Parisienne. Score highlights are: Valse Milieu; Our Language Of Love; From A Prison Cell and Dis-Donc.Do not confuse with the film version which turned the law student into a policeman and threw out the entire musical score, replacing it with a new jazz score. Shirley Maclaine (she was Oscar nommed) and Jack Lemmon starred and Andre Previn was Oscared for his score."
Oh, for the London production!
F. G. Robinson | 04/09/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Irma la Douce (the music-free film notwithstanding) is a surefire winner. I've seen the original Peter Brook production in London 1960, a version, in German, in Germany 1987, and once (1960s) had an LP of the London production, which I played perhaps until it wore out: anyway, it disappeared, along with the original barman, who in my opinion was better than Clive Revill, more Gallic (despite having an Italian name I forget). All were excellent, and so is this DVD; though again, I preferred the somewhat-more Gallic-sounding English cast. The Broadway American accents sound too beefy for my taste, shades of the 'South Pacific' chorus. But that's a minor quibble; the show's great! Keith Michel, Elizabeth Seal: sheer magic! And, as he wrote and told me once, the late, lamented Ronnie Barker was in the London original!(If anyone knows where I can get a copy of the pre-Revill London cast, I'd be glad to hear about it....)"